Kathleen Parker: Palin 'Not Stupid' But 'Disingenuous'

Kathleen Parker: Palin 'Not Stupid' But 'Disingenuous'

In an online chat with the Washington Post readership, the National Review's Kathleen Parker continued to express her overall vexation with vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, leading off with this fairly realistic take on Palin's strengths and faults:

My column about the debate recognized that she did what she needed to do to reanimate the base, but the question that remains unanswered satisfactorily is whether she is prepared to serve as president should that become necessary.

Parker, who forthrightly averred, "I call it as I see it," offered wide-ranging criticism of Palin. Palin's winking, to Parker, was "beyond annoying." Also: "girly, silly, unserious and obnoxious." When faced with a questioner who asked, "I want to know why you hate Sarah Palin so much. Is it because she is not an elite like you?" Parker responded, "I don't think anyone at the Hay and Feed where I shop for compost would consider me an elitist. But let me just say: I'm in favor of elite leadership; I despise elitism. So let's drop the labels and stop playing the class warfare game." Parker basically summarizes her judgment thusly:

I do not believe that Sarah Palin is stupid. Far from it. But I do think she is disingenuous. When asked to name the papers she reads, she couldn't name any. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, she may have been hamstrung by her coaching. This wasn't a question she had been prepped on. How to answer? Does it matter? Is there a right/wrong answer? But, her failure to shoot straight and give a possibly "wrong" answer suggests a more serious question about her ability to think and make her own judgments. Now she says she was just annoyed at Katic Couric and didn't feel like answering. I'm sorry, but I don't buy it. I also don't buy that her annoyance kept her from telling Couric which Supreme Court cases she disagrees with. In fairness, again, most people couldn't answer that question. I would have preferred an honest answer. "Katie, I have no idea. I'm not a lawyer and can't name cases. But I can tell you what principles I care about that the court has undermined. I care about personal property rights; I care about protecting children from pornography, etc."

Now that she's over her annoyance, she can drop names such as "Kelo vs. New London." Please. Now I'm annoyed.

Parker was more than merely critical of Palin, however. The Palin pick, to her estimation, makes "McCain's judgment...a fair target." And by her anecdotal accounting, it's a judgment call that could come with a cost:

Judging from my mailbag, McCain has lost a lot of support among moderate voters. Hundreds have written to say that they were on the fence until the Palin pick. They will vote for Obama. Whether these self-selecting emailers represent a statistically significant voting bloc, I can't say, but generally it seems that Palin has strengthened the base and weakened the middle McCain needed to grab. Also, all those women voters who initially left Obama for McCain in the immediate aftermath of the GOP convention have returned to Obama in even greater numbers.

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